I’m enjoying splitting the characters up into different groups. The party is quite big, so I frequently find characters fading into the background as the story unfolds. Splitting them up into these smaller groups makes it easier to focus on specific characters, and even allows me to change the viewpoint of the story altogether. In fact, now that Michael and Terrin have their troubles resolved, they might be able to go off on their own as well. We’ll have to see. Let’s unpack.
Sheilak nailed it when she said the people of The Valleys feel as though they’d been abandoned. The legends of the Prismatics are lost to antiquity, and the wonders upon which their civilization depends are currently far beyond their abilities – with the exception of the most talented Um healers, that is.
For Kaitlyn, Jeremy’s presence means the Prismatics knew of the decline of their society and decided not to bring it aid. In fact, to Kaitlyn, even worse than Jeremy’s existence is his apparent weakness. The legends which she has fostered in her mind, even though they generated some bitterness, don’t mix well with frailty.
Jeremy’s consorting with “monsters” only makes it all worse.
Sheilak makes a splash
In the deepest levels of The Ravine we see Sheilak’s personality come out much more clearly. The depths are the Guardian’s natural habitat. Indeed, The Ravine is the heart of life for all Guardians in The Valleys, and being in a space which depends so much on evertorches makes her manifestations much easier. It’s nice to be reveal her as more of a person, though I do have to remember she is an alien intelligence, and not simply a human in another form.
The big reveal about the guardians is their role in giving the Senators their designations. The common understanding of The Valleys is these designations come from the healing orders, which is true – but the healers who make their pronouncements are being influenced by the Guardians, who have been far more active in the development of The Valleys than anyone realizes. When Sheilak says the memories of people in The Valleys are “clouded,” she’s not using a metaphor. The clouding was something agreed upon between the early settlers and the Guardians.
During her dramatic appearance Sheilak mentions “old bonds.” In the distant past Guardians and Prismatics worked together closely, using crystal pendants much like the one which Talum gifted to Jeremy. The paring grew in wisdom and insight – helping the Prismatic wield all of the healing gifts. After the diffraction of powers, Guardians and healers continued to work alongside each other, but the bond was weaker – the pair became colleagues, rather than extensions of the other. Eventually, even this partnership would come to an end. Jeremy is, in fact, the first Prismatic to pair with a Guardian since the Extinction War.
Changes in fortune
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Satal’s pronouncements on Michael and Terrin opens up new possibilities for these characters. They now answer directly to the President’s office, which allows Satal to keep an eye on Jeremy while giving them incredible freedom. It also allows Satal to indirectly take a stand against Merkot, who has labeled these two guards as disgraces to the uniform. This effectively puts Jeremy, and anyone accompanying him, under Presidential protection. Next week we may see her pull the same maneuver on the Old Fox himself.
Satal’s designation as “Weaver” is well-given. While this scene references a “web,” she is no predator – she’s a politician who works with “the world as it is.” If she has to weave people together in patterns of her own design to see The Valleys protected, then that is what she will do. The Guardians, who have been weaving far longer than Satal, view her with great respect.